Complexity and the Human Experience: Modeling Complexity in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Paul A. Youngman, Mirsad Hadzikadic

May 22, 2014 by Pan Stanford
Reference - 304 Pages - 23 Color & 59 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9789814463263 - CAT# N10976


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  • Presents a field-defining research effort examining mutually enhancing collaboration between complexity science and the humanities and social sciences—areas of study not normally associated with complexity
  • Discusses about ground-breaking exploration of modeling and simulation as quantitative tools for analysis of problems defined by the humanities and social sciences
  • Provides a shining example of interdisciplinarity that crosses many fields of study


Questions of values, ontologies, ethics, aesthetics, discourse, origins, language, literature, and meaning do not lend themselves readily, or traditionally, to equations, probabilities, and models. However, with the increased adoption of natural science tools in economics, anthropology, and political science—to name only a few social scientific fields highlighted in this volume—quantitative methods in the humanities are becoming more common.

The theory of complexity holds significant promise for better understanding social and human phenomena based on interactions among the participating "agents," whatever they may be: a thought, a person, a conversation, a sentence, or an email. Such systems can exhibit phase transitions, feedback loops, self-organization, and emergent properties. These dynamic systems lend themselves naturally to the kind of analysis made possible by models and simulations developed with complex science tools. This volume offers a tour of quantitative analyses, models, and simulations of humanities and social science phenomena that have been historically the purview of qualitative methods.